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They may have left their country for vacation, but a number of Argentine tourists in midtown Manhattan nonetheless found themselves at the centre of the most significant news event facing their country on Wednesday: last-minute negotiations to try to avert a default, Luc Cohen reports.

For the second straight day, Economy Minister Axel Kicillof and his delegation met in New York with court-appointed mediator Daniel Pollack to try to strike a deal with a group of hedge funds led by NML Capital who refused to accept bond restructuring after Argentina’s last default. Continue reading »

Thursday will be a crucial day for Ukraine. Its parliament will attempt to adopt a package of bills needed to secure the next tranche of an IMF bail-out loan. Equally important will be a separate bill to allow the creation of a joint venture between EU and US companies to operate Ukraine’s gas transportation system.

That would strike a blow at Russia’s South Stream project. But what are its prospects? Continue reading »

The sale this month of the Caracas-based newspaper El Universal to a little known Spanish private equity firm raised concerns that it may turn out to be yet another example of the dwindling space for government critics in the Venezuelan media.

The culling of some of the newspaper’s regular columnists this week has brought those fears back into the spotlight. Continue reading »

It’s all kicking off in Indian ecommerce. Flipkart, an ecommerce website founded by two former Amazon employees, raised $1bn in equity this week. Amazon itself quickly followed, with an announcement on Wednesday that it was investing a further $2bn in the country.

As competition becomes fierce at the top of the market, beyondbrics went to Bangalore to meet senior executives from Myntra, the fashion retailer that Flipkart acquired this year. Continue reading »

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** FT News **

* Total suspends Russian share purchases | Total froze its programme of buying stock to raise 18% stake in Russia’s Novatek on the day Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine Continue reading »

** FT News **

* EU and US toughen sanctions on Russia | Sweeping measures intended to cripple economy and convince the Kremlin to abandon its support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine

* Israeli military pushes deeper into Gaza | The IDF is racing to destroy a network of Hamas tunnels more extensive than it previously thought, even as condemnation of the war outside Israel grows Continue reading »

It is not hard to find evidence of Egypt’s extensive informal economy. It is present everywhere from the rickety microbuses that are poor Egyptians’ main means of transport, to the myriad small businesses which repair, build, supply and otherwise serve the needs of this population of some 85m people.

A World Bank report on the Egyptian labour market released on Wednesday, finds that informality in employment has been deepening, meaning that the proportion of Egyptians in poor-quality jobs without written contracts or social security has been rising, even during years of higher economic growth in the past decade. Continue reading »

By Jonathan Fenby of Trusted Sources

Tuesday’s announcement that former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang is to be investigated for corruption shows just how important the drive launched by Xi Jinping at the end of 2012 has become, with implications that stretch beyond the political power play into the economy. It is an important weapon in the simultaneous and wider reform programme with potential positive impact on the huge state sector and the investibility of its big listed companies. Continue reading »

Argentina’s national motto is En unión y libertad (In Union and Liberty). Should it, perhaps, consider changing it to Sui Generis?

Having found a variety of ways throughout its history to break new ground in macroeconomic and sovereign debt mismanagement, Buenos Aires this week may be forced into a new one.

 Continue reading »

Moody’s Investors Service, the credit rating agency, on Monday raised Colombia’s sovereign rating one notch to Baa2 from Baa3. This puts the Andean country in the same rating league as Brazil. The outlook is stable.

Colombia has been reaping the benefits of an improved security situation, macroeconomic credibility, and the country’s debt secured investment grade status from the major credit-rating firms. Continue reading »

Argentina's President Cristina FernandezIt may be difficult to argue convincingly that a default could be anything but bad for Argentina’s economy – the real question is just how bad – but it is less clear what it means for politics.

You might think that little could be of greater importance for leaders of a country in very serious danger of falling into default in a matter of hours than to be doing their utmost to prevent this from happening. Continue reading »

By Dalibor Rohac of the Cato Institute

One can only hope that Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine, which has claimed, among others, the lives of the passengers of flight MH17, will come to an early end. But is it possible that the conflict, for all the suffering and senseless destruction it has brought, could have a silver lining?

The past 20 years, during which many Ukrainians thought of their country as a bridge between the West and the East, without any obvious enemies, were years of complacency and failed economic policies, which ultimately resulted in the capture of the government by special interests. Continue reading »

A long-running dispute between Croatia and Mol, the Hungarian oil and gas company, over control of Ina, Mol’s Croatian counterpart, has flared up again.

Zagreb is seething over a statement issued by Mol after talks on Friday which said the latest round of negotiations had achieved precisely nothing. The ministry told beyondbrics the Mol statement was “a lie” and threatened to publish a recording of the negotiations unless Mol withdraws it. Continue reading »

How much lower can it go? The consensus on Brazil’s economic growth this year has been revised downwards for nine successive weeks, according to the central bank’s latest survey of market economists, and now stands at a meagre 0.9 per cent.

The consensus on growth next year is not much better, at 1.5 per cent. As our chart shows, estimates of growth this year (the black line) and next have been in decline for the past 12 months. (Longer, in fact. When the bank first asked economists about growth in 2014, they expected it to come in at 3.8 per cent.) Continue reading »

** FT News **

* Former Yukos shareholders awarded $50bn | An arbitration panel in The Hague has ruled against Russia in one of the biggest awards ever made against a sovereign state

* Gaza conflict resumes as truce hopes fade | Diplomatic efforts to agree a cessation of hostilities continue after a brief pause in the fighting breaks down and casualties start to mount once more Continue reading »